Stevens Johnson Syndrome Foundation
P.O. Box 350333, Westminster, CO 80035
Phone: (303) 635-1241, Web: www.sjsupport.org
The Honorable Governor
City, State, Zip
My name is ______________ and I am a resident of the state of ___________.
I am writing to you on behalf of the Stevens Johnson Syndrome Foundation, a non profit organization.
Stevens Johnson Syndrome (SJS) and TEN (Toxic Epidermal Necrolysis) -
another form of SJS - are severe adverse reactions (ADR's) to medication. I am sure most people are aware that heart disease, cancer and diabetes are the three leading causes of premature death in America today and these conditions are almost 100% avoidable.
According to the New England Journal of Medicine, over 2 million Americans
fall ill and are hospitalized every year from taking these recommended drugs And, of the 2 million that are admitted over 140,000 are never released , they die. That's equivalent to crashing a fully loaded 747 aircraft every day.
SJS is one of the most debilitating ADR's recognized. It was first discovered
in 1922 by 2 pediatricians A. M. Stevens and S.C. Johnson after diagnosing a child with severe ocular and oral involvement to a drug reaction.
Almost any medication including over the counter drugs, such as ibuprofen,
can cause SJS. Most commonly implicated drugs are anti-convulsants, antibiotics
(such as sulfa, penicillin and cephalosporin) and anti-inflammatory medications.
Although SJS affects people of all ages, a large amount of its victims are
children. In the past year there have been numerous cases reported due to the use of Children's Advil and Children's Motrin. In March of 2003 we lost a 3 1/2 year old within 7 days to Children's Advil and just before Christmas we lost a 9 year old girl to Children's Motrin. More female cases have been reported than male. However it does not discriminate against anyone. The SJS Foundation hears from people around the world who from SJS and TEN. An average of three cases are reported to the foundation every day.
Recognizing the early symptoms of SJS and prompt medical attention are the most invaluable tools in minimizing of the possible long-term effects SJS may have on its victims.
Our biggest problem is in the public awareness. The pharmaceutical companies
and the medical communities are under the impression that incidences of SJS/TEN are rare, but this is not the case. Numerous cases are misdiagnosed as chicken pox, measles, scarlet fever or flu. Many cases are never reported.
We recognize that the use of prescribed and over the counter medications are
necessary and beneficial to our well-being and help many people, but to because each person's body chemistry is different, what may be beneficial to one may be fatal to another.
The only way to combat this devastating problem is through public awareness.
The pharmaceutical companies, FDA, AMA and the media can and should take the responsibility to educate the public and the medical community, the doctors,
hospitals and nurses.
SJS and TEN are life threatening. If left untreated they can result in death.
Complications can include permanent blindness, dry eye syndrome, photophobia, lung damage, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease (COPD), asthma, permanent loss of nail beds, scarring of the esophagus, and other mucous membranes, arthritis, and chronic fatigue syndrome. Many patients' pores scar shut, causing them to retain heat. These are some of the side effects that have been reported.
The SJS Foundation has been existence since 1995 after Jean Farrell McCawley's
daughter Julie suffered SJS at 11 months old from Phenobarbital.
(add your own story here)
Enclosed is a fact sheet about Stevens Johnson Syndrome for your perusal.
I am writing to ask you as Governor to issue a proclamation declaring the month
of August "Stevens Johnson Syndrome Awareness Month".
and your address